Obama, just like he campaigned on a promise to end Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy, also promised America net-neutrality. Today, the FCC and Julius Genachowski will hold a vote on their FCC’s proposed “Net Neutrality” rules and it is expected to pass. When it does, Obama will more than likely claim that he has protected the internet for everyone and fulfilled his campaign promise.
And if this is indeed his claim, Obama will be entirely full of shit, again.
The FCC’s proposal does not protect the open internet. Their proposal is a gift to the Telecom Industry and is what Senator Al Franken, among others, calls the end of the internet as we know it.
The internet, under the FCC’s new rules will turn what was once free into cable television where you pay for what you get and the internet providers are free to charge you what they will for each tier of service.
We pay more and they will profit, immensely. And on wireless internet, like on Ipads, or cell-phones? Providers like AT&T and Verizon can restrict what websites they offer on their systems. Want Netflix, want Youtube? No longer up to you, it will be up to them.
This is not Net-Neutrality.
This is bullshit.
This is Obama selling out the public for the benefit of wealth and corporations, again.
In a quick perusal of the news this morning…and yesterday for that matter, I felt like a boxer taking punch after punch…and I gotta say it, I’m aggravated and disappointed, yet at the same time, more comfortable and secure in the correctness of my views that the government doesn’t care about anything but corporations and what they believe they can get away with, the problem with wilileaks isn’t what they reveal about our state department but instead that they have been revealed, the government’s importance of controlling information at every level, more government handouts to large business as the order of the day while cutting off unemployment benefits to people, and at the same time, the GOP demands to keep tax cuts for the wealthy…oh, and global warming? What do you mean global warming?
Walk with me:
From Peter S. Goodman at Huffingtonpost – “Republicans in Congress have held up the extension of unemployment benefits and are also demanding an extension of the tax cuts President George W. Bush handed out to the wealthiest Americans. They are selling this as a stand against fiscally reckless spending and oversized government — a form of pandering that poses dire consequences to the economy. Unlike wealthy people handed tax cuts, laid-off workers receiving unemployment checks tend to inject nearly all of that money directly into the economy, leaving their dollars at the local supermarket, the hardware store, and the auto repair shop, supporting jobs for people who work at those places. Cutting off those checks deprives the economy of cash just as the market is showing tentative signs of improvement.”
Yet, we are supposed to believe that extending tax cuts to those who don’t need them, who don’t create jobs, who don’t inject money into the economy, this is a good thing and fiscally responsible. Meanwhile, the banks have been given billions, trillions, to stay afloat, because they are more important then…um…you.
From Rawstory – Under pressure from Joe Lieberman, Amazon stopped hosting Wikileaks. In a statement from Joe – “I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on Wikileaks’ previous publication of classified material. The company’s decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material. I call on any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them. Wikileaks’ illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world. No responsible company – whether American or foreign – should assist Wikileaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials. I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with Wikileaks and what it and other web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information.”
Hey Joe, first off, when we read stories such as this one about the Supreme Court, the very conservative supreme court questioning the broad government use of Freedom of Information Act exemptions to withhold documents and keep Americans in the dark about what the government we pay for is doing…well, you reap what you sow. Of course people are going to put this info out there when they get it and of course people are going to want to read it. From you, we get, “war on terror,” and “these are dangerous times,” and “national security”…ad nauseum, treating us like children who wouldn’t understand. Worse still, what the hell are you diplomats doing? Sounds to me like a lot of games, lying and bad behavior. Instead of treating us like children, perhaps it is time for us to be the parents because you jackasses have obviously been left to your own devices for too long.
Also from the Huffingtonpost – Incoming House Republicans plan to scrap “unnecessary” global warming committee. They claim they are doing this in a cost cutting move, designed to save waste. yeah, you guys are brilliant. In the spirit of cost-cutting I think if I’m ever diagnosed with cancer, I’ll tell my doctor I don’t want treatment because it will save me money in the short term.
Back to Rawstory and the FCC’s proposal for internet freedom: learning the rules of new politics, the FCC finally figured out how to get net neutrality for all, they simply have to create a piece of (shit) legislation that glad-hands corporations and internet service providers while screwing the general public, and then call it “net-neutrality” despite the fact it is anything but. It’s kind of like how the Patriot Act curtailed personal freedoms and invited the government to spy or how Bush’s Forest Preservation act actually allowed more clear-cutting of the nations forests. Same thing. The rules proposed by the FCC will allow for tiered systems and higher pay rates, essentially taking the free and open internet and turning it into cable television, pay for basic, extended, shell out some extra cash for HBO, Showtime, and for all you losers who still want things free, go watch the fucking networks. Oh, and on wireless technology, the future of the internet? No rules. It all adds up to restricted information, pay rates, less innovation and most importantly, a ton of money to AT+T, Google, Verizon, Comcast, Sprint, all paid for, by you, despite Obama’s pledge to do precisely the opposite.
And on a more amusing nature – it would appear that Congress is going to soon be back in the business of attacking art museums. Wonderful. Important stuff. An image of ants on a crucifix? That’s the crime? Are you fucking kidding me? So some dipshit congressman from Georgia wants an investigation…good for you, sir…good for you.
Ah yes, so here we are if you’re keeping score:
Telecom corporations, multinational banks, wealthy tax breaks, government transparency, foreclosures, saving money at the expense of science, global warming debate and attacking art…good.
Unemployment benefits, knowledge and the American people, you…bad.
Ain’t nothing over down there…nothing, much as BP and the NOAA are trying to convince you otherwise.
Okay, I think it might be time to go put an “X” in chalk on the farthest left, third pew to the back inside St. Louis Cathedral, or maybe I’ll just go get a drink. Yeah, after work tonight I think I’ll just go get a drink and then get to thinking about where this country is heading, have some conversation and try to figure out a way to get more people involved in their own future, cause it sure won’t happen watching reality television.
That was the sound of me getting off my soapbox, time to go to work.
Ed. Note: Today (Sep 30th) this legislation was tabled…so for now, never mind. It’s back in the FCC’s court.
Legislative text put forward by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) under the banner of mandating network neutrality would instead prevent the government from requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic equally.
Waxman, who has vowed that he would support the so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ policy proposals favored by most Democrats and progressives, has instead put forward an as-yet-unsettled legislative framework that explicitly prohibits the Federal Communications Commission from regulating broadband Internet under Title II of the Communications Act: a caveat key to implementation of what’s been called the Internet’s First Amendment.
I recently read an article claiming there is no political right or left anymore, that now there is only pro-corporation or pro-public with both Republicans and Democrats entrenched on the side of corporate power. Personally, I have long argued this case while at the same time recognizing Democrats will at least, on occasion, first shake the hand of people they stab in the back while the Republicans will just unapologetically knife away. Articles such as this one about Mr. Waxman’s recent sea-change on internet freedom only confirm these beliefs.
When it comes to the internet, Democrats have long been the party who has stood on the side of net-neutrality while Republicans predominantly claim free market and push in favor of the Telecoms, consequences to the free exchange of information on the internet be damned.
The argument in a nutshell:
Net-neutrality is good for consumers: it gives them freedom of choice in providers and content, and keeps consumer costs lower by preventing companies from charging for certain aspects of internet use.
Net-Neutrality is bad for corporations: it prevents them from controlling competition by slowing down traffic to competing websites. It prevents them from restricting access or charging more for accessing certain types of web traffic like file sharing, gaming…etc.
Waxman has long gone on record in favor of net-neutrality…over and over, yet now he introduces the framework for legislation that would crush the very idea he champions with language that is bad for consumers, but great for corporations and my concern is because people will recognize Waxman as a Democrat, consumers will not read the fine print of his bill and just assume it’s a good thing, when in fact it is not.
Any way you cut it, Waxman just did Google and Verizon a big favor, and made things tougher for the FCC to keep your internet free and open.
Any way you cut it, the Democrats are trying to screw you again in favor of big business.
And on a side note: What the hell makes the Obama Administration think that after Democrats had to eat it for eight years with Bush in office, they would be in any mood to stomach their argument of – Hey, you better support us, otherwise you get Republicans? If Obama wants support from Democrats, perhaps he should stop making excuses for every time he caves on issues to the party not in power. Perhaps, he should spend more time talking tough to those on the other side of the aisle, instead of his own “base.”
Two days ago, Verizon and Google went public with their vision of the “free and open” internet, but as people are quickly learning, free and open is the last way to describe their ideas. They propose zero net-neutrality on wireless networks – what many people understand to be the future of the internet – and a standard for “non-discrimination” so empty discrimination will most certainly occur. Their proposal also reduces consumer power, instead handing it over to corporations to decide which applications will get the best quality of service, while at the same time establishing a tiered system, splitting the internet in two where when paying extra, consumers will get all the bells and whistles of new applications and new content while for free, consumers only get slow speeds, poor quality, and yesterdays news. Last, but certainly, not least, Google and Verizon’s vision turns the FCC into a non-player on net-neutrality, codifying into regulation their empty threats and weak spine, giving them no power to enforce any rules, instead acceding to a third-party arbitrator to decide what’s right and wrong, one that will more than likely be controlled by the industry it is meant to referee.
Well, that sucks.
It’s time for the FCC to stop trying to play nice here and do what it should have done as soon as Obama got into office, re-classify broadband as a “common carrier” and “telecommunications service,” re-assert their authority, take charge and protect net-neutrality once and for all.
This moment has been building for quite some time.
Let’s take a quick look back and see how we got here:
In 2002, GW Bush got it into his head to change the way the internet had been classified since its inception. Previous to his FCC’s decision, the internet had been governed by the Telecommunications Act of 1934 which many years later gave the FCC legal power over the internet. Bush reclassified the internet from a “telecommunications service” to an “information service,” which effectively stripped the FCC of any bonding legal control to regulate. Their basis for this decision was the internet provided other services besides internet connection, services like e-mail and web-hosting.
In 2008, users of the file sharing program BitTorrent noticed something strange, their traffic was slowing down. They then accused Comcast of deliberately slowing P-to-P traffic which Comcast of course denied, all the way up until they admitted it, declaring they had a right to do so on their network because BitTorrent users were slowing down traffic for everybody else and besides, they were only doing it during hours of peak use. This turned out to be false as a study from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems showed. The FCC ruled that Comcast had no right to slow traffic, with FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin saying, “Would you be okay with the Post Office opening your mail, deciding they didn’t want to bother delivering it, and hiding that fact by sending it back to you stamped ‘address unknown-return to sender?'”
Comcast, not caring for someone telling it how to manage its traffic, sued.
On April 6th, 2010, a US appeals court ruled that the FCC didn’t have the authority to order Comcast to stop throttling traffic. The FCC released a statement at the time, correctly saying the US appeals court did not “disagree with the importance of preserving a free and open internet.” The ruling simply said that the FCC didn’t have the authority as things legally stand now, “Nor did (the court) close the door for other methods for achieving this important end.” Since this ruling, the FCC got together with all the big Internet Service Providers behind closed doors to try to hammer out a deal to preserve net-neutrality on the internet. The closed doors outraged many consumer advocacy groups and this meeting was ongoing until Google and Verizon announced their “proposal,” then the talks thankfully fell apart.
So what happens now?
Google and Verizon are hitting the op-ed pages to try to sway public opinion in favor of their profits, leaving out many of the details on how the consumer will get screwed by their proposal. They say that their plan is not something that Google and Verizon will put into effect. It is a plan they hope a member of congress or the FCC might adopt in the form of a bill or rule-making process, “Consumers should be able to choose any lawful content, services or applications they want. Our proposed policy presumes that prioritization of Internet traffic…is harmful.” They then go on to say the wireless industry has “unique technical and operational challenges, demanding different considerations than wireline networks.”
Yes, different consideration…such as the negation of net-neutrality, of giving wireless providers the ability to block content, apply different speeds to different applications and relegate voices to the fringe as they see fit. Not to mention how they will directly benefit from their proposal as Google is behind the new Android mobile operating system that is featured on many phones running on the Verizon network. Course, this was not mentioned in their Op-eds.
In response, the FCC finally released a statement as well, written by Commissioner Michael J. Copps, “Some will claim this announcement (Google-Verizon) moves the discussion forward. That’s one of its many problems. It is time to move a decision forward – a decision to reassert FCC authority over broadband communications, to guarantee and open Internet now and forever, and to put the consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations.”
Well, this statement is a good first step. Now the FCC has to back it up and I would recommend a two-fold approach, reclassify broadband as a “telecommunications service,” re-asserting the FCC’s authority to regulate the Internet, something they have the power to do as Michigan Law Professor Susan Crawford argues: the reason for reclassification is obvious, people buy internet services based on speed and price, and not because of extra services some high-speed providers offer (such as e-mail). This of course will bring lawsuits by all the ISP’s. Fine. Screw ’em because in these courts their lawsuit won’t come to arguments for another couple of years.
And in the meantime the FCC should take their own proposal to members of congress. They will most certainly have to find their spine to do so as the Telecoms got themselves a lot of Congress types in their pocket. The FCC, with the support of Obama and the American people will have to hammer the legislative body with everything they got. They’ll have to get pro-active, get mean, push some people around, you know…get Republican all over everybody, and put net-neutrality into law, once and for all.
Remember when you were just a little internet start-up? Imagine trying to enter into the Internet world if corporations controlled it. How far do you think you would have gotten if the ISP’s could have slowed traffic to your site while speeding it up to those who already dominated the very marketplace you were trying to break into? How do you think you would have fared then, superior programming or not?
Or maybe that’s the point, two more bullshit corporations trying to codify their power into law.
I don’t want corporations to choose what applications I use, what content I receive and how I receive it. The Internet should be consumer driven, the way it always has been. Consumers must be free to access the Internet on the same playing field as everybody else, choose the content, applications and start-ups they like. We should determine who succeeds, not corporations.
They have enough control over information already.